Shirley Weber

Shirley Weber

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A California initiative that would require state regulators to reduce plastic waste has qualified for the November 2022 ballot, officials said Monday.

Secretary of State Shirley Weber's office said the initiative exceeded the required 623,212 valid petition signatures needed for the measure to go before voters next year.

If passed, the law would compel the state to take multiple steps to reduce plastic waste, including requiring that single-use plastic packaging, containers, and utensils be reusable, recyclable or compostable.

Producers of single-use plastic packaging would be taxed, with the revenue allocated for recycling and environmental programs.

In addition, the state Legislature would be prohibited from reducing funding to specified state environmental agencies below 2019 levels.

The measure is supported by a coalition of environmental groups.

"The manufacturers of disposable plastic products and packaging have been making empty promises for decades, all the while they have hired lobbyists to stop any legislation designed to actually rein in the amount of plastic pollution they generate," said Nick Lapis, director of advocacy for the Californians Against Waste. "It's time for the voters to get a say."

Two of the largest groups representing the industry, the American Chemistry Council and the Plastics Industry Association, did not respond Monday to requests for comment by the San Francisco Chronicle.

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